Listen to Wes McNair Reading the Poem
Shame Initial Exploration
“You are beyond shame,”
my mother said after
my father left us. “What else
are you hiding?” I never told her
about the photograph
of naked women and men
in a cart beside a fence
from his book about the war,
some with hair at their crotches,
some with asses like mine,like everyone’s except,
being dead, they had nothing
to hide, and the shame
was all mine for finding them
I went on turning its pages,

time after time, past
the portraits of generals
wearing ties like my father,
past flashes of gunfire
and rolling hills of smoke

and flame, to these
forgotten ones, lying
together in their secret, more
frightening than my mother
chasing me from couch

to chair with her switch
to make war against
her broken heart. For in this
place there was no running
or screaming. Here

nobody knew their terrible
stillness but me, the one
beyond shame, who left them
all naked, and returned
to find them, and never told

Notebook Page 1
Transcript 1

Transitions and Structure
Notebook Page 2

Transcript 2

Endings and Line Breaks
Notebook Page 3

Transcript 3